A couple weeks ago, Off Road Xtreme was invited out to San Antonio, Texas to participate in the 2022 Toyota Tundra National Press Preview. We signed on and confirmed our interest. Fast forward to now, after having the opportunity to get hands on the new generation truck and more specifically the 2022 Tundra TRD Pro, we are ready to relay our thoughts and perspectives.
Before we received the invite, I had already prepared an “Everything You Need To know” article on the 2022 Tundra. This was all conceived with materials downloaded on the manufacturer’s media website. Looking back, I was wild-eyed full of speculative wonder grounded by well-informed vehicle experience.
Now after having been able to get behind the wheel, drive it through the paces, off-road over various obstacles, get the wheels off the ground, get familiar with the vehicle functions, look under the chassis, tow some trailers, and just cruise around, I have been able to develop an informed opinion on what this vehicle has to offer.
How Off-Road Capable Is the 2022 Tundra TRD Pro?
Out of the thirty some participants in my group, just by happen-chance, I was able to be the first to take the 2022 Tundra TRD Pro out on the designated off-road course. This was a mild trail, with a few challenges marked with arrows, and manned by guiding spotters to assist anyone that might need help. It was mainly set up to present the off-road technical components implemented into the new platform.
When the TRD Pro arrived at the staging lane, I was already waiting. I hopped up into the truck and soaked up the plush red upholstery and premium interior. The truck was already running and I only needed to put it into drive. I crossed a narrow overgrown levy shouldered by two large ponds and headed up a rocky off camber trail towards the first obstacle. Of course, I feathered the juice to hear the twin turbos spin and pick up some speed hoping to feel the 2.5 inch Fox internal bypass shocks do work.
The first obstacle had me crossing down into a small flat with a steep rocky ledge going up on the other side. Our spotter advised me to engage the transfer case into four-wheel-low. I felt and heard a notable clunk confirming positive engagement. I will say that it was rather subtle and tame when compared to the ruckus felt and heard on the old and new Tacomas.
They requested for us to use the Crawl Control and I had the option to tune the rate of throttle input of which the Crawl mode would automatically modulate. I turned it all the way down as I intended to dual pedal my way up.
2022 Tundra TRD Pro Can Crawl And Climb
The TRD Pro is outfitted with a 1.1-inch suspension lift and made easy work of the small cliff. Outfitted with the factory equipped 33-inch Falken Wildpeak all-terrain tire configuration, the Tundra had the ground clearance measuring around 10 inches, the power, and the traction to easily climb up the moderate incline. This ledge obstacle was really no match for any 4×4 Tundra equipped with the TRD Off-Road Package but the TRD Pro made easy work of the hill. With 26.2 degrees of approach and 24.2 degrees of departure, steep angles are one less thing to worry about. Additionally, having the skid plate package of the TRD Pro really boosted my confidence knowing that the vehicle underbelly was fully protected.
The path continued up the hill twisting through a small pine forest. Having already shifted the truck out of four-wheel-drive, I reached the crest of the hill and found a straight away guarded by a barbed-wire fence line. Pressing open the throttle, the turbos whistled and the truck zipped down the trail till I came up on a corner. Hard on the binders, I maneuvered the large truck through the tight course.
The next marked obstacle was a hill descent challenge. To play along, I engaged the four-low again and pressed the Crawl/DAC (Downhill Assist Control) button once more. This time, I tuned the modulation input to allow for a decent speed. Not using either the throttle or brake pedals, I merely steered the truck through the downhill switchbacks. It was one smooth and effortless operation.
Flexing The 2022 Tundra TRD Pro And Getting Tires Off The Ground
After reaching the bottom of the hill, I encountered another guide who pointed me towards a small opening in the forest. I identified several telephone polls strewn across the trail. With the truck engaged in four-low, the TRD Pro easily crawled each of its tires over each of the logs. Putting the truck off camber, one bump at a time, one tire at a time, I maneuvered over and through to the next challenge.
The next corner revealed a small backhoe with offset dirt mounds and holes trenched right through the path. I was happy to see this, as I knew this would reveal any limitations of the vehicle or distinguish its true off-road performance. I aimed the front passenger tire for the first hole on the left and soon found the front passenger tire pushing up the mound on my right. Next, I steered the truck towards a large hole on the right which picked up the left rear corner of the truck up into the air. Using the Tundra’s Multi Terrain Monitor (MTM) viewing screen made it simple to identify the obstacles and put the vehicle right where I intended. My goal was to see if I could max out the drivetrain and expose the vehicle’s limitations.
With one tire high in the air and usually only three in contact with the ground, the TRD Pro easily worked the section by controlling power and traction through its electronic locking differential. The series of offset mounds and ditches was a lot of fun teeter-tottering the truck around, but once again the TRD Pro ate it up and left me hoping to find a more difficult challenge. The only thing that could have made it perform even better was if it had an electronic swaybar disconnect.
A different perspective
At that point, I crossed a creek and came around the bend to find the trail had come to an end. I was eager to hang onto the 2022 Tundra TRD Pro for another go around, so I convinced the next person in line to let me ride with them so I could grab some pictures of the truck in action.
Riding as a passenger and watching another driver experience no real difficulties through all the same obstacles confirmed the truck was just as capable as any driver. I was able to drive three different trucks around the same course for comparison; A crew-cab 1794 edition in a sparkling Rootbeer color and a cool looking crew-cab flat Forest Green SR5, both of which were equipped with the TRD Off-Road Package. Each truck had their own novel characteristics making each vehicle unique with personality. None of the trucks had any trouble on this designated off-road course.
The TRD Pro was significantly more capable hands down. Powered by the same twin turbo v6 as the other trucks, the TRD Pro Hybrid Motor configuration offered a near 50 extra horsepower. A significant difference to me was the ride quality when traveling at high speed going over the rough. The Bilstein monotube shocks found on the TRD Off-Road Package could eat it up and handle the trail with a bit of shock agitation. On the other hand TRD Pro’s 2.5 inch Fox internal bypass shocks with reservoirs completely smoothed out the chatter.
I can say the off-road course was pretty mild, and merely set up to present vehicle function. Having the opportunity to participate and test the TRD Pro was a highlight, but we are eager to do some more field testing and run this truck in the wide open desert.
How Does the New 3rd-Generation 2022 Compare To The 2021 2nd Gen?
Interestingly enough, besides a fleet of 2022 Tundras for us to experience, Toyota also provided access to a dozen 2nd-generation 2021 Tundra Trucks. I opted to drive a pretty nice TSS Off-Road 4×4 as my first ride. It had been a while since I drove the 5.7, so I was on the gas making the truck swim through the gears.
Comparatively, later in the day, I was able to experience both the 2022 Tundra power options. TRD Pro, as the flagship, is powered by the 437-horsepower 3.5 liter twin turbo V6 hybrid dubbed the i-FORCE MAX. The hybrid is available on all Limited and above trim 2022 Tundras. The standard engine is the 389-horsepower i-FORCE utilizing the same 3.5 liter twin turbo V6 minus the hybrid motor system.
With the slim window to drive all the various models, I drove two 2021 trucks (the TSS and a Platinum outfitted for towing), and six different 2022 3rd-generation Tundras. Out of all the 2022 models I had tested, only the TRD Pro was equipped with the Hybrid. I was unable to determine improved long range fuel efficiencies between the i-FORCE and i-FORCE MAX based on my testing. I could easily feel the power increase the 3.5 V6 held over the obscure 5.7 V8. With the 10-speed automatic transmission, it was immediate power on demand with zero turbo lag.
Without throwing the 2nd-gen. under the bus, they are awesome trucks, but the 3rd-gen. was just impressive. More power, more features, improved ergonomic comforts, and a plush interior had me sitting high up in the seat and enjoying the Texas hill country.
Editor’s Note: The day I was out field testing the 2022 Tundra was the day the very last 2nd-generation 2021 Tundra rolled off the production line.
2022 Tundra And The DNA Of A Land Cruiser
For technical geeks and gear heads like myself Toyota had cutaway 2022 Tundra rolling chassis on display. This revealed the bones, components, and new technology systems that make up the 3rd-generation 2022 Tundra. We spoke with Jay Sackett, an engineer by trade and Executive Program Manager at Toyota Technical Center, who walked us through the major components.
What was most interesting to me is that the frame, chassis, and drivetrain (minus the motor system) is all based on Toyota’s new Global Truck Platform which will also be the bones for future Tacoma, 4Runner, and Sequoia models. Toyota’s New Global Architecture-F (TNGA-F) makes all of this possible. In other words, Toyota has streamlined this truck design and manufacturing to share major components with multiple vehicle models offered all over the world. The platform program was years in the making and a collaboration of over 40 design and engineering individuals.
The exciting part for Off Road Xtreme is that we learned the Toyota Global Truck Platform is 100% designed around the new 300 Series 2022 Land Cruiser. That is right! The 2022 Tundra, its frame, the chassis, and all of its off-road technology is derived from the legendary Land Cruiser.
Behind The Scenes Tour At Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Texas
With eyes on the body-less truck frame, and Sackett explaining details, left me with more questions than answers. Fortunately, Toyota’s National Press Preview event included an optional manufacturing facility tour of the Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Texas (TMMTX) plant.
Even though TMMTX’s production line had halted and was being re-geared for the 2022 Tundra, we were brought in to tour part of the campus. We received special insight into the specialized truck frame construction which, for the sake of time, was limited to laser cutting various portions of the truck frame and a brief education on why and how. They had a naked frame fully assembled which marked out and highlighted individual plates that had been appropriately fused together.
Once the engineers informed us on the hyper-engineered construction process, it all came together of what Mr. Sackett had explained prior. The 2022 Tundra and Toyota Global Truck Platform chassis frame is a fully boxed unit made up of various “island” plates perfectly designed and fitted together. Each plate is made up of specified material thickness and configured where more strength is required and the reduction of weight where it can be preserved. The high-tech robotic tailored non-linear welding process fuses it all together. The end result is a 20% increase in rigidity, and a 10% decrease in mass. In Toyota’s words, the truck frame is perfectly optimized and engineered for comfort, control, safety, and reliability.
2022 Tundra TRD Pro Conclusions And Final Thoughts
The 2022 TundraTRD Pro is no doubt an awesome truck. Toyota really stepped up the game and had the opportunity to do what we all were hoping and knew they could do. After running this truck in the limited capacity that I was afforded, I feel like the TRD Pro is resilient and offers credible off-road and 4×4 capabilities. By accessing and transferring over the tried and true Land Cruiser platform they made the new development of a new generation truck streamlined. Smart move!
As mentioned before, we hope to get another opportunity to take the TRD Pro out and really push it to the next level. We did our best to highlight our time and findings with the TRD Pro in this piece and brought in some other supporting elements that I believe the readership would like to know while pertaining to the vehicle structure.
Experiencing the 2022 Tundra could not all be featured in one article. You can expect another in depth feature on the rest of the 2022 Tundra lineup which will present the other trim models that I drove and some other unique experiences that were had which include new exciting towing technology and capabilities. The SR5, the TRD Sport, the 1794, and the Platinum will all be covered. Stay tuned for all of that!